The NC State women’s club basketball team completed its first tournament this past weekend at Clemson University, according to senior co-president Sam Olson.
At the tournament, NC State was divided into two teams. Olson said she and senior co-president Anna Lavella were on Team Black, along with more experienced players such as junior shooting guard Rachel Argabright. The second team, Team White, housed newer players to the club, such as freshman forward Laila Barnes. Team Black placed second, a great start for the season, while Team White placed around fifth, according to Olson.
“We played well,” Olson said. “We learned a lot and we had a lot of success, but we’re not satisfied, because we want to win the tournament.”
Argabright said each team played three games on Saturday followed by another three games on Sunday. With three games a day comes a lot of back-to-back game time, which left the club tired. Olson said the fatigue allowed some games to slip from its grasp.
“Going forward, I definitely think that as a team, we could improve on our endurance, picking and choosing when we really push it in,” Olson said. “On Saturday, we probably could have dialed it back a little bit when we were winning by 40 points and saved our legs. That way on Sunday, we’re more prepared and ready.”
According to Barnes, Team White started off the weekend against Duke, Western Carolina and UNC’s Team Blue. Each game was a close score, especially against Duke and Western Carolina. Barnes said UNC’s Team Blue defeated NC State’s Team White by about nine points, but two years ago, UNC won nationals. By keeping a close score against a team with a championship from nationals under its belt, the Wolfpack has shown a lot of potential for this season. This leaves the team hopeful for success in the future if the team’s biggest obstacle right now is endurance.
“We played Western Carolina; it was a back-to-back game,” Barnes said. “We were up in that one, but we just got a little fatigued, so we ended up losing that one pretty close too.”
On Sunday, Team White saw improvement against its tough opponent.
“On Sunday, we played the same UNC Blue Team again and actually took them to overtime and ended up losing that by four or five points,” Barnes said.
Olson said she and Lavella discussed coaching the second team at the beginning of the season; unfortunately, they ran into some trouble during the team’s first tournament.
“For the most part, it worked out decently well. We pulled some of the girls from last year to be leaders on the second team, and I think they did a really great job of leading,” Lavella said. “Unfortunately, we had to play a lot of the time at the same time frame, and so we didn’t get to sit there and coach and watch and help them out during their first few games, and that was kind of frustrating.”
Team Black had a different experience from its sister team. The team competed against UNC’s Team White, Coastal Carolina and Clemson on Saturday and was undefeated for the first leg of the tournament, according to Argabright.
“We started off really strong,” Argabright said. “We were able to get everyone in, and everyone participated in scoring. Our second game was Coastal, and I thought we played really well that game as well. Then we played Clemson, and we also ended up beating them by around 20 points. So overall, Saturday was a really great day for us. We were tired by the end, but we played really well as a team, and we hustled every game.”
On Sunday, the team faced the same issue as Team White: fatigue. Argabright said playing three games one after the other took its toll by the third game against Clemson, where Team Black was dealt its first and only loss in the tournament. After defeating Coastal Carolina and Western Carolina earlier on Sunday by close margins, this was an indication that the team’s final game would be an uphill battle.
“Our last game was Clemson, and we ended up losing that game,” Argabright said. “We just seemed very, very tired, but we still tried very hard. I thought overall, the weekend was really great and definitely a learning point for all our future tournaments.”
Another reason for the team’s defeat against Clemson was Clemson’s choice of defense: zone.
“I think one thing we could improve on is our offense against a zone,” Lavella said. “That’s kind of how we got shut down against Clemson. We weren’t really going anywhere with the zone. Usually we can shoot them out of a zone, so once they go into it, we’ll shoot a lot of outside shots, but we weren’t letting any shots go in; all of them were rebounding out. So we were really frustrated on offense, because we really couldn’t score as much as we usually do. I think that’s something that we could improve on, to make sure we’re prepared for if it happens again.”
After a day’s rest, Olson said both teams are back in the gym in preparation for its home tournament on Oct. 19-20 in Carmichael Gymnasium.